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Monday, May 21, 2018

Strawberry n Cream Muffins







muffins:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4oz (1/2 of 8oz container) softened cream cheese, cut into chunks
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/4 butter, melted (measure butter before melting)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 lb fresh (going bad) strawberries, chopped up
for struesel topping:
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
1/2 lb chopped strawberries

Preheat oven to 400F/205C and spray or line muffin cups.
For the muffins, combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together. Using a hand mixer or the paddle attachment on stand mixer, lightly beat in the chunked up cream cheese until mixed in and lumpy.
In a small bowl, mix together the remaining wet ingredients, and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Allow to stay lumpy. Stir in the strawberries.
In a separate bowl, for the struesel, combine all ingredients using a fork.
Spoon the muffin batter into muffin cups, about 1/2 - 2/3 full. Top each battered cup with a spoon full of streusel topping, and bake 15-18 minutes, until golden and skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool before consuming.
Eat within a couple days.
Adapted from Cooking at a Glance

Thank You Clara Barton



May 21, 1881 Clara Barton with the help of close friends found the American Red Cross. The event took place in Washington D.C. The movement took place after Barton returned home from a visit from Europe. The Swiss inspired global Red Cross was the spark behind what would become The American Red Cross.


Clara Barton is considered one of the all time bravest women. Barton would risk her life to bring supplies and support to soldiers who were directly involved in battled during the Civil War. At the age of 60 Barton would begin the American Red Cross  and led it for 23 years. Clarissa "Clara" Barton was born on Christmas day 1821. She was a pioneering nurse who worked in the hospital during the American Civil War. She would pass at age of 91.


Today, the Red Cross is still very involved in helping those in need. From helping find shelter, food, health and mental health care. The Red Cross is there to help any family or community that may need it. The Red Cross is not a government agency but it is an essential part of the response when disaster strikes.



I recall, one summer manning the 4-H dinner at the fair with my 4-H group. Let me tell you being a waitress is a lot harder than you may think. Not only providing service, but keeping them happy as well through doing your job well and a bit of conversation never hurts either. Today for all those waiters and waitresses that work hard doing their job today, May 21st is for them.



National Waiters and waitress day values the importance of good waiter or waitress. They are the ones that the customers see most and it is their job to represent the restaurant. The waiter or waitress are easily recognized and are often the first individuals working at the restaurant that the customer sees. One way to thank our waiters and waitresses is to leave them a tip. The tip should be according to the quality of the service they offered.




National Memo Day




With all the great summer activities going on you will quite often note me taking a memo. My thoughts are not as they were even a few years ago and the activity that surrounds my world leaves me needing to make several notes. So glad that I am not alone as today is National Memo Day.



May 21st of each year celebrates National Memo Day. A Memo may be one of the most important pieces of communication as it is a not that is often jotted down to help us remember something important. While memo notes are used often at the workplace, I find them quite handy at the house as well. A memo is a note that reminds us of something important. A memo can be digital, written on a sheet or paper or electronic.



National Memo Day is one of the odd days where no one quite knows who created the day. We do know what that the day is to help celebrate those little notes that help us solve various obstacles, issues and concerns Whether it is writing down an important note, a date, address or maybe even a telephone number, directions to a location, what is needed at the store, a to do list, memos are important tools.



 Celebrate memo day by practicing your "memo-ship" Write, send or read memos. Memo-day would be a great time to remind our selves and others of topics of importance that we should not forget.



Saturday, May 19, 2018

National Devils Food Cake



Devil's food cake is considered to be the counterpart to the white or yellow angel food cake. The cake is moist, airy, rich chocolate layer cake. A devil's food chocolate cake traditionally have more chocolate than a regular chocolate cake. The Devil's food cake was invented in the United States around the early 1900s.

Devil's food cake recipes often call for unsweetened chocolate baking squares rather than cocoa powder. While the cocoa powder is more of a convenience to use it has less cocoa butter making a more intense chocolate flavor. Coffee is another ingredient that can be used as liquid form to enhance the chocolate flavor. Devil's food cake is traditionally baked as a layer cake.

One cake that is related to the Devil's food cake is the red velvet cake. This cake has became a favorite in the United States.




Angel Food Cake

1/2 cup cake flour
3/4 cup white sugar, divided in half
6 egg whites, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Whisk cake flour and half of the sugar, set aside. Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until stiff peaks are formed. Slowly add the other half of the sugar, and continue beating. Add flour mixture and vanilla slowly, beating continuously on a low setting. Make sure it is thoroughly combined, and then pour into prepared 8” cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through. Top should be bouncy and spring back when touched! To remove from pan, run knife along inside, flip over, and slap all sides until cake pops out.

Devil's Food Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup hot coffee
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Combine oil, coffee, and milk and whisk together at medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat for 2 more minutes. Transfer to a greased 8” round cake pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 15-20 minutes and then flip onto a rack to continue cooling. for assembly: When cakes are completely cool, set the devil's cake on a cake stand or plate. Slather with a thick layer of your favorite vanilla frosting, then add angel food cake layer. Frost the top, and feel free to frost the sides or leave them naked as I have done! Garnish with fruit or chocolate shavings.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Global Youth Traffic Safety Month

The National Organization for Youth Safety or NOYS join together to observe Global Youth Traffic Safety Month. The members, partners and youth leaders from around the country come together for this annual campaign that takes place in May. Organizations, resources and youth speak out to help inspire individual actions that can help change road safety statistics

Currently, traffic crashes are the #1 killer of teens. Summer time is the deadliest season for U.S. youth on the roads. In 2005 and 2008 two youths that were loved by many were tragically killed in car crashes. During the Global Youth Traffic Safety event the two will be honored in an attempt to bring awareness to the danger that is present. The goal is to get everyone to pay attention and be better drivers, passengers and pedestrians. 

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Terrible Eruption 30+ years ago on May 18

Mount St. Helens located in Skamania County Washington in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is 50 miles northwest o Portland Oregon and a little under 100 miles south of Settle, Washington.

Mt. St. Helens takes an English name from the British diplomat Lord St. Helens, a friend of explorer George Vancouver who surveyed the area in 18th century. Mt. St. Helen is located in the Cascade Range and part of Cascade Volcanic Arc. The area has over 160 active volcanoes. The volcano was well known for the ash explosions and pyro flows .

before eruption


On this date in 1980 the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the United States at that time occurred. There were over 50 people killed, 250 homes destroyed, 47 bridges an miles of railways and highway destroyed. Mt. St Helens also experienced an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale caused an eruption that reduced the elevation of the mountain between 8 to 10 thousand feet. A mile wide horseshoe crater is still present.


May Ray Day

We have all heard it before,
April Showers Bring May Flowers....



The saying is about the natural changing of seasons and how the spring rains help prepare us for May and the beauty of flowers. The April rain and May rays have been important to people through out history. Knowing when to plant the fields as well as knowing the true end of cold winter and beginning of warm days depends on the distinguishing Mays Rays. 

Spring is finally here and that means it is time to welcome the sun back into the warming sky. It is time to get out and enjoy it. Plants seem to be everywhere after a long cold winter and blooms are very present as well. It seems as if even our cold bodies are ready for a bit of sun and start to crave the warm days. The sun helps the supply of vitamin D in our bodies and thus helps make for strong healthy bones.



Tomorrow is May Ray Day, it is time to get out there and enjoy the sun. I am in high hopes of seeing some May Rays even if the old weather man seems to say that we are in the middle of a few days of showers. Its time to get out in the sun and enjoy the day. Put on some pretty spring clothes and go out for a bit. How about a spring picnic or a day in the park?? I know, I know I am celebrating while some of you are drowning in allergies and asthma. So sorry but take a bit of medication and get ready to come out and play.



Enjoy a Piece of Pizza History

If you love pizza then you are in luck as today, May 18th, is National Pizza Party Day. This special day occurs each and every year on the third Friday in May. Today, is the day that pizza lovers every where will celebrate pizza with family and friends. If you choose not to go out to a pizzeria then by all means stay in and celebrate homemade pizza that you make with fresh toppings. If you choose not to go out or to make your own then call one in for delivery. Delivery is one luxury that pizza lovers have not always had. Back in the day.....



Ancient Greeks enjoyed a dish of bread covered with oils, herbs and cheese (sounds like a great dish that would go along with our version of pizza now) Greece was also the location that the name "pie" was used to define the fine dish of pizza. Greek pizza pie still is different than other style of pizzas. Greek Pizza Pies are baked in pans and not on bricks of a pizza oven. The pan is shallow and heavily oiled with olive oil. The crust of a Greek Pizza Pie is chewy, puffy and oily. Tomato paste is primarily used in the sauce which helps make a tangy and thick sauce that is spiced with oregano. Greek Pizza Pies have more sauce than cheese which is normally a blend of mozzarella and cheddar.

You will often find Greek Pizzas in pizzerias owned traditionally by Greek immigrants. Other specialties that may be sold are  Greek salads and gyros. Many will go by slogans of "Pizza and Pasta" or as "House of Pizza" thus allowing customers to know this is a Greek establishment that serves Italian style food.



The Romans not to be out done by the Greeks had their own version of pizza. The Romans would take a sheet of dough top it with cheese and honey then flavor the dish with bay leaves. Pizza found in Rome was known as "cut pizza". The pizza was a thick and rectangular in shape. The pizza is served by slices after being baked in electric ovens. The oven helps produce a crust that is light and airy on top while crunchy on the bottom.


It would take the Italians to make what is thought of the modern pizza. Their pizza used only mozzarella cheese that was produced in Naples. Italian style pizzas are commonly known as Neapolitan pizza. The pizza originated in Naples Italy. The pizza is made with simple fresh ingredients. Starting with a basic dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and olive oil. There are no fancy toppings in the original pizza from Naples. The pizza sauce outweighs the cheese on this pizza and often leaves the middle of the pizza pie wet or soggy. It is not a pizza that serves well by the slice. The average Neapolitan pizza is around 10 to 12 inches in size. The small size is perfect for a personal pizza. The pizzas are cooked at super high heat for a very short time normally around 90 seconds.



Pizza would reach the United States around the early 1900s. The first pizzeria was opened in Little Italy in New York. Today the pizza business has grown so that around 2 billion pounds of pizza cheese is used each year. Soldiers returning back to America after being stationed in Italy during World War II would bring along their taste for the Italian favorite, pizza. Pizza has changed since the early days and is often looked upon as fast food now. Pizza in the United States takes on many variations. At times only a casual resemblance of an Italian original is present. In the United States you can find both a thick crust and a thin crust pizza. Foods such as barbecue, chicken, and bacon cheeseburger are now used to create new types of pizza. While pizza is normally eaten hot, it is also popular to enjoy pizza as cold leftovers.





Snapdragons

One flower I love to add to my flower bed that not only adds color but offers a border as well are snapdragons. Snapdragons are native to the Mediterranean but I am glad that they did not stay there. They make great cut flowers to decorate the home not only with the color but also the scent. Colors such as white, yellow, purple, crimson, bronze, and pink in rainbow of colors.




Snapdragons are annuals and are easy to grow. Most either bloom in the summer prior to wilting away in the heat. Many will have a second bloom again when the weather cools prior to fall. As I mentioned snapdragons are great for planting in flower bed, as edging or even in containers. A bonus is that hummingbirds are attracted to snapdragons.



It is best to plant snapdragons in full sun. As long as the soil drains well snapdragons should do well where planted. If the soil is poor add a bit of fertilizer. Snapdragons can be planted as early as the last frost. Snapdragons normally last through the first heavy frost.



Snapdragons come in a variety of sizes and colors. Whether you are looking for a small dwarf flower, a intermediate size flower or a tall flowering stem you will find it with a snapdragon. Snapdragons come in nearly all colors but blue. Tall snapdragons may grow to 3 feet tall , while shorter versions may only reach 6 inches.

Snapdragons only take about 2 weeks to germinate planted in direct sunlight. Snapdragons do not like to be crowded and should be water from below not above.


Good Luck and have fun snap-dragging